tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN February 21, 2015 7:00am-8:01am EST
nail? it always gets hammered. the question is, are you going to be able to take that hammering? i thought about it and talked to a lot of friends and finally said, okay, i'll put my name in. so i was appointed to the city council for the two-year unexpired term of the mayor who had vacated that post to become the new mayor. so then in 1969, i then ran for election to stay on the city council. >> so i have a question. do you think if you were not appointed to that position, would it have ever occurred to you to run for city council? >> well, i had people asking if i would consider doing it. and i was the first non-white on the city council. and so i always thought, you know, that would really be a difficult task. so even though i had people ask
me about it, i always dismissed it. but this was an opportunity through an appointment, not election. so you get appointed, then you do your job, then you can seek election. so in 1969, i ran for the city council post that i had by appointment. but on the brochure, i couldn't say reelect norm because i hadn't been elected in the first place, so we used the phrase retain norm on the council. >> how supportive was the japanese american community to your campaign? >> very. i had great support from within the community. at that point it was probably maybe 2% of the population, 3%. very, very small. but i had great support from the japanese american community. and so that was also true -- by 1970, i had become vice mayor, and then in 1971, for the reelection for the mayor's post, the mayor decided not to seek reelection. so then that mayor and many people said, hey, you've got to run for mayor. well, i was trying to split my duties between being on the city council and running the business, and it was really
taking more and more time, and so i decided to run for mayor in '71. so that was probably the most difficult decision i had to make between, you know, a career choice in terms of the insurance business that had been in the family since 1920 and then running for mayor, because that really was going to take full-time. >> when you decide to do make that choice, to go into politics full-time, what possibility were you hoping for by going into politics? what were you thinking at that point? >> only about what is it i could do as mayor of san jose.
and i think as i look back over the 40 years i have been in public service, one of the things i always tried to do was not to get caught up in this whole thing about where are you going to be? where you going? and looking out into the future as to where you want to go. because i think a lot of people make a mistake about keeping their sight on where they want to go and they'll stumble over something right in front of them. and so i've always maintained work hard at the job you're in. do a good job there. because then if you come to a fork in the road and it's like the great american philosopher yogi berra said when you come to the fork in the road, take it. but if people are so intent on their goal way over there, that's driving them. it's not a personal decision. i want to be in control of
myself, not let other outside things direct me as to what i'm going to be doing. so i've always maintained work hard at the job you're in, and so i always figured, just work hard at being mayor. be a good mayor. and whatever happens in terms of opportunities that pop up or whatever you want to do, you can then do it. if you're a mayor and a very difficult task comes up, if you've got credibility and a depth of reserve of good will that you can sacrifice some of that good will to take on this very difficult task. and so i always felt, you just work hard at the job you're at. don't worry about having to keep your sight on where you're going to go in the future, because that can really -- you can stumble over something right in front of you.
>> that's such a simple, yet powerful, philosophy. where did that come from? do you recall anyone telling you that, or is that something that just evolved over time? >> in terms of the business, my dad used to always talk about that. in terms of -- he used to say, plan your work and work your plan. because he was always one who tried to make sure that, you know, you just don't do things willy-nilly, but that you had to be organized in how you go about doing things. his basic philosophy to me was always, plan your work and work your plan. so -- >> describe how you then decided to go for national office to become a congressman? how did that happen? >> purely by accident. in about the third week in january, 1974, quarter to 6:00 in the morning on a sunday, the
phone rings. i pick up the phone. hello? hey, norm, have you seen the paper? jimmy, it's quarter to 6:00 in the morning on sunday. of course, i haven't seen the paper. he said, charlie goobster is not going to seek reelection. charlie goobster was our member of congress. had been for 24 years. i said, that's nice. no, no, no, no. you've got to run. i said, jimmy, i announced in september of '73 that i was going to seek reelection in '74. we did a big fundraiser in october, tom bradley, the mayor
of l.a. came up, did a fundraiser for me, and we're on our way for reelection campaign. no, no, no, you've got to run for congress. i said, jimmy, go back to sleep. i'm going back to sleep. so i hung up on him and didn't think anything about it. well, 7:00 that night, the door bell rings, so i go open the door, and i look at this guy and say, mike, what are you doing here? he said, i don't know. jim told me to be here at 7:00 tonight. what did he tell you? he said, nothing. he just said be at norm's at 7:00. jim, unbeknownst to me had invited people to be there at 7:00 that night. people were knocking on the door, people were flying in. jim had gotten all these people together to come to the house, talking about -- >> when you say jim, who is that? >> jim bono was an attorney in san jose. and a close friend of mine. >> okay. >> and he just did this on his own. >> so continue the story. all these people. >> anyway, this is 1974, and this seat had been held by the republicans for, i don't know,
48 years or something like that. and the question was, can a democrat win this congressional seat? and, you know, there was the fair housing act of 1964 on the ballot statewide. wilson riles was an african-american who ran for state superintendent of public instruction statewide and won. so the question was, if you take some of these maybe six or eight issues that had been on the ballot and sort of researched them, could we see whether or not this 13th congressional district could be won by a democrat? and -- but in those days, it
was, you know, before you were in microsoft and computers weren't even around, and you had to go in and say, okay, precinct 337. 100 voted in 1964 on proposition 13. you take down the numbers. you had to go through and recreate this thing on maybe eight issues over a 12-year period. so we had to have lots of people go to the registrar of voters to get all this information. well, that's what we ended up discussing that night. and my protestations were about, no, i'm running for mayor. and they were sitting there organizing, saying, what other issues do we need to take a look at? all these people were bent on me running for congress without me saying okay, i would consider doing it. so it took them about five weeks
to do this. we all got together again. they said, you know, there's a chance -- this is during the whole watergate issue that started bubbling up in '72,' 73, and by this time, this is february of '74, or march, and i think it was something like five days before the end of the declaration period. i said, i'm now running for congress, so if you feel inclined to do so, please feel free to send some money in. >> what made you decide to run? >> in looking at the figures and talking to family, talking to friends and, you know, they just encouraged me to do that. and so -- but it was one of those things, again, where, you
know, it's not something that even crossed my mind at some point that i would even think of running for congress. and so -- >> that was a pretty risky thing. the mayor was probably a pretty sure thing. >> it was. >> and here you're trying to go after a republican seat. >> and the thing is that there was a very well-known republican by the name of george million. a very fine individual. had been a member of the state assembly, his family ran a hotel in gilroy in the southern part of the district, and he had been appointed by president nixon to be the regional head for the environmental protection agency in san francisco, and then from there, they moved him back to d.c. as assistant secretary of
army for environmental affairs. so, i mean, he had a long political heritage, and so i knew it was going to be a tough race. but when you look at it, the population was mostly in the san jose, santa clara, saratoga los gatos area and went down to gilroy, but gilroy was also a lesser populated area, so his name recognition was much higher in that part of the district, so the whole question about, you know, who do we have to work with down in that area, and i remember one of the fines that we had was a person who used to support george mileas in other races for the state assembly on the congressional race, and this
fellow said, i'll support you. he was a very prominent fellow in gilroy and it was really a big boost when this fellow said, yeah, i'll support you. >> so how much did you win by this election? >> well, i had to get by the primary first. there were about, oh, eight or nine people in the primary. but i won the primary by -- i think it was 63%. and then in the general election, it was something like -- i won 51% and george got something like 39 or 40, and there is a peace and freedom and some other candidates in there that made up the balance. >> so it was a solid win.
>> it was about 51%. >> so at the time, you were the first japanese american -- >> mainland. dan, you know i had gone to congress in '59. >> that's right. mainland. at that point you were going in -- danny was the center -- >> nancy mick was there. spark was there as well. >> i'm going to jump ahead now and actually switch topics, but i wanted to ask you, when was the first time you heard about the topic of redress for japanese americans? >> there had been talk about it. edison muno had been talking about redress for quite a while. there was a lot of conversation about redress.
but it wasn't until the salt lake city convention of the japanese american citizens league in 1978 when the national convention adopted a one-sentence resolution that said that to undertake a legislative program seeking an apology in redress payment of $25,000 per individual interned during world war ii, and that was it. and that was adopted at that salt lake city convention. >> and were you at that convention? >> i was at the convention. i did not participate in any of the discussion. and, you know, people would say, what do you think? do you think we can get this passed? i don't know. i mean, that's a real long shot. you know, i'm not sure we'll
ever accomplish this. but i never got into the discussion on the floor of the convention. i was in a convention delegate. i was really there more as an observer. >> what were you thinking? you must have thought, okay, so this is going to fall into my lap pretty soon and they're talking about legislative talking about legislative action in office. what were you thinking? >> it wasn't until about september -- i don't recall when, september or october of
'78. the officers of the sale came back to meet the senator and myself, and bob had been elected to congress in '76. this is '78. so when we all assembled, i remember the first thing i said was [ japanese ] which is, we're in deep straits here, what do we do with this? so we had some real good conversations about them, and senator anoa said, you know, we're not going to get this passed until the american people know what happened. and once they know, then they will talk to their representatives and their senators and they will then get an idea about what went on. but until we get the public knowledgeable about this, we'll get nowhere on this issue. and he said there was the warren commission about the kennedy assassination, and those commission reports, the hearings, went on for a long
time. they were on the news every night, they issued the warren commission report. that was on news a lot. the commission report itself became a best seller. he says, that's what we've got to do. then he was talking about the kent state killings. and i've forgotten the name of that commission. but he talked about that commission. he said, unless we get the hot focus, the publicity, on evacuation, we're not going to get anywhere. so spark said, well, i've got a bill and maybe we can use that as a basis for this commission. i had a legislative director of a brilliant young kid named glen roberts, and his brother steve roberts was a reporter for the "new york times," and steve's wife is cookie roberts with cbs.
so, anyway, glen was sitting in on this meeting, and so he took sparky's bill on native hawaiian claims and converted that to what became the commission on wartime internment and relocation of civilians. and the commission bill passed and the commission was formed with president -- not truman -- carter appointing the commissioners. and they set out to work on it. the life of the commission under the original bill, i believe, was one year. we had to extend it to make it two years, and then i think it was either '81 -- i think it was
'81 or maybe '82 when the commission report came back. >> i want to go back. after the decision was made to pursue the commission path, when you would go back to san jose, what would people say to you about that decision? was that a controversial decision? >> it wasn't -- it was probably more benign. it was probably not so much controversial as it was, that's nice you're doing it, and that was t. because people just didn't think it was going to go anywhere. it was mission impossible. and, you know, you had a lot of people who -- i mean, core people who were very much in favor of pursuing this action, and so they were all hyped up, but i would say 90% could care
less, and maybe 20% were really -- this happened in '42. why are you bringing this up now? let's let it die. forget it. but that was a small group. maybe not even 20%. >> so tell me what the hearings did for you when they started in the various cities? were you able to attend any of them, or what was it like? >> i did, and it was just very, very moving. and -- but, you know, as we're putting together this commission bill, i wanted to make sure that we had prominent members of the congress. if i dropped the bill in, people were like, oh, that's self-serving. so i didn't want us to be in the forefront on this thing. and so i wanted to make sure that we had judiciary committee members who were going to be considering this bill and
committing tobacco -- to be co-sponsors and then i would call and talk to these people on a one-on-one basis about being a co-sponsor. then i talked to one fellow on the judiciary. he said, it's nice to have you here, norm. what do you have for me? so i said, tom, i've got this bill and it has to do with forming the commission, going back to the whole issue of evacuation and internment. he sort of looked off into the distance and said, yeah, i remember hearing about it. i think my old boss somehow was
involved in that. i said, really? what did you do? he said, well, i was in the general council's office at international paper company in ohio. but our washington, our senior vice president of government affairs was headquartered in washington, and i think he had something to do with it. i said, really? i said, what was his name? and he said carl bendetsen. and i thought to myself, oh, crap. here's the guy who engineered the evacuation and was the sob who put us in camp. i folded up my paper and said, tom, thanks for the time and left. glen and i walked out of there and went, oh, man. you talk about doing research and knowing who you're talking to about stuff, but, boy, we didn't know a thing about it. but as soon as he said, carl bendetsen, i go, oh, man, just
folded up my papers and said, thank you, tom, and walked out of there, and figured i would never get him as a co-sponsor. but we did that. i went to member after member. bob motsui did the same thing, going to members and getting them to sign up as a co-sponsor of the commission bill. >> an important one was jim wright also. >> jim wright was, at that point, the majority leader. no, i'm sorry, he was whip at the time. i went to ask him, and he was a fighter pilot in the south pacific, and he came home on leave in 1944, and then he heard about the camps and the japanese americans in the camps and all that. he said he thought to himself, that's not what i was fighting for in the south pacific. and he said at that time that at some point he wanted to do something to correct that wrong.
he said, that's not right. so when i got elected to congress, i got elected to the public works and transportation committee. jim wright, a congressman from texas, was on the public works and transportation committee, and we got to talking a lot and got to be good friends. and then he got elected to go up in the leadership. so on this bill, i went back to him and i said, jim, i really need your help. and then he told me about the loss of battalion and how the 447100 had lost a lot of blood to get to the rescue of the 100th battalion. he said, absolutely put me on the bill. i said, i'm not going to put you on the bill. i need you as the lead sponsor. he said, fine, put me as the
lead sponsor. so to have the number three in the democratic leadership as the lead sponsor on the bill was a big boost of -- you know, you could say, jim wright is on this bill. especially with these other members. and after the bill was passed and the commissioners performed and they had these national hearings across the country, i don't know how many hearings they had, maybe, i don't know, 20, 25. >> i want to go back. so after you had jim wright agree to that, what kind of reaction -- how did you feel when he decided to do that? >> it was just great. jim said he would sign on the bill. so, you know, just thanked him profusely, shook his hand. glen and i walked out of his home, out of his office. we didn't say a thing and just kept walking, turned the corner, we got into the elevator and we
got into the elevator going, yes! we got jim wright as a sponsor of the bill! and we were just sitting there inside the elevator by ourselves hugging and thinking, jim wright is on the bill with us, and it was really a big moment for us. >> because at that point did you start gaining confidence that this was going to really happen? >> it's one of those things you take things one step at a time. and so there were 435 members of congress, you want to get to as many as 218, you know, majority members, and on the commission bill, i think by the time we dropped it in, i think we probably had 120 -- before we dropped the bill into the legislative hopper, we probably had 125, 150 co-sponsors on the bill. because i really wanted to make it with a big bang and not
just -- a lot of times you drop a bill in with five co-sponsors or seven, whatever. but this one was something that we really had to make a big impact. so i wanted to make sure we got as many co-sponsors on the bill as possible. >> were there any other key congressmen during that time that played a role, like a barney frank or -- >> no, that was long before barney came on board. and we had a lot of opposition. dan lundgren from california, sam hall from texas and, you know, i said, sam, jim wright's on this bill. so, oh, okay. just oh, okay and walked away. >> when you say they opposed, did they actively oppose? >> some of them -- i've
forgotten who it was. somebody wrote -- i've forgotten who it was now, but rhoda -- we have this mechanism called dear colleague. we had somebody write a dear colleague, and there is a bill being circulated about forming a commission. this is a waste of taxpayer money. this happened in '42, on and on and on and on. but -- and i suppose it had some gravitas with somebody, but we were looking to try to get co-sponsors from those who we felt were sympathetic to the possibility of getting them as a co-sponsor on the bill and there are probably, you know, 150 people you'll never get no matter what you do.
those you just sort of discount. and so people who write dear colleagues, that appeals to them because it gives them a little more ammunition in their own quiver as to why they're in opposition to the bill. >> and meanwhile every announcement would be focused on that million-plus people because they're the ones that would really make a difference? >> sure. >> what year was this dropped in the hopper? >> we did that in '79. '78 was the resolution passed by jc l. '79 we did the research and in '80 we got the bill passed. and the commission report came back in '82, and, you know, jodi bernstein did a tremendous job as chair of that commission, and the general council for that
commission -- general counsel for that commission -- not hue mcdermott -- he was just tremendous. >> i'm blanking on it, too. >> he was just an amazing guy. but he and jody were really the ones who made it happen. and, you know, then the final commission report, it came out and said that there was a gross violation of the constitutional rights of people of japanese ancestry, and it said that redress -- an apology and redress payment -- they
recommended $20,000 -- should be made and that the reason the evacuation and internment occurred was because of historical racial discrimination, wartime hysteria and weak political leadership. and so it -- it brought everything together, all the loose ends, and it dealt with the magic cable issue. when people were saying, whoa, what about those magic cables? you could hold up the report and say, well, they studied that issue and it was a lot of nonsense.
so it really was tremendous. >> so you have this time period, so 1982, '83 you have this report, the final bill wasn't signed until 1988. so what was happening in that time period? >> well, first of all, we had to take the commission report and glen, again, went through that thing i don't know how many times. his wife kitty told me he would go to bed with the commission report. she said, he didn't go to bed
with me, he went to bed with the commission report. he just pored over that thing and pored over it and then translated that commission report into legislative language working with legislative counsel's office in the house of representatives, talking to the american bar association. glen just did a tremendous job in putting that thing together. so we had the elements of the bill, and so again, we had to line up the co-sponsors to jim wright, and by that time, jim wright was the majority leader in the house. and generally the majority leader in the house does not co-sponsor any legislation. and he said, norm, this is an exception, and i'm going to be associated with this. he said, put me as the lead sponsor. and so we then introduced it in that congress. and then, you know, legislation expires every two years, so in the new congress, we then had to reintroduce the bill. so i want to a house
parliamentarian and i said, i want to put hr 442 as a number of this bill. so how do i do that? >> how did you get that idea? >> you can't reserve a number but what you have to do is drop the bill in about the time the bill will come up, and as they stamp these bills, that will get the number of 442. so i went to the house parliamentarian, and i said, charlie, when should i drop this bill in because i want 442 on this bill. so he said, well, wait about, you know, ten days and then i'll tell you when to drop the bill.
and then as it comes through, i'll just hold it back and make sure we get 442. so charlie johnson was the house parliamentarian and he's the one who helped me get the number 442 on that bill. and then after that, you know, it took eight years to get it passed, so every two years i'd have to drop the bill in at the proper time to get hr 442 in the succeeding congress's for that legislation. >> there was a point in time when you went to the four congress and addressed the congressmen about this bill and talked about your family's experience. do you recall that and what you said? >> sure. well, the day this bill had gone through the committee, and again, going -- this congressman sam hall who was opposed to the bill, and sam was elected with
us in 1974 in the same class as i was, and he was in opposition to the bill. eventually he became the chairman of the subcommittee on the judiciary committee that was going to handle the bill. i thought, oh, no, man, we're never going to get it. this is going to be the graveyard for this bill. sam will never get the bill out. well, i kept pressuring him. i said, at least have hearings on the bill. so he would have hearings on the bill. but he made it very clear right from his opening statement that the bill wasn't going to go anywhere, and so president reagan appointed him to a justice, and dan glickman from
kansas came in as the judiciary subcommittee chairman. and dan was very helpful at moving the bill forward. but he was still reluctant to put the bill over the top. and then dan became chairman of the house agriculture committee, so he gave up that chairmanship. and then barney frank from new york became the chairman of that subcommittee. and i was really pleased, he being such a big civil libertarian. so i said, hey, congratulations
on becoming chairman. i've got a bill. he said, yeah, yeah, i know, the hr 442. we'll move it. we'll pass it. i said, oh, man, that's great. you're going to have a hearing on it? no, we don't need a hearing on it. so i thought, man, this is great. then he said -- came back and said, norm, there's one thing i've got to have a hearing on. i even forgot what it was, but he said i've got to have one hearing. i said fine. so he had the one hearing, passed it out of committee, peter rodino was chairman of the full committee and don edwards was a colleague of mine from san jose who was on the judiciary committee. so, anyway, peter had indicated rodino. he said, oh, yeah, yeah. he said, you know, you get this out of subcommittee, it will go right out on the full committee. so that's why over the years, you know, we had to push on
getting the subcommittee to take action. well, i knew sam hall wasn't going to move it with dan glickman it was going to move a little more, but with barney, it was most assuredly going to move forward. so then we got it through subcommittee, full committee and on to the house floor. jim wright, again, by that time was the speaker, and he said, norm, he said, i see the judiciary committee passed hr 442. they passed it maybe in about june of that year, 1978? >> 1980. 1980 -- >> the bill was signed in 1988, so this was 1987.
and so jim wright said, i want that bill on the house floor on . . . and he said, i want you in the chair. he said, you'll be speaker pro tem. he gave up the chair as speaker of the house and had me as speaker pro tem chairing the house when we took up the bill. and it's a day i'll always remember. >> was it that day you gave your speech also? >> it was. you know, my dad was -- he came
to this country by himself at 14 years old. and i only saw him cry three times. once was the 7th of december because he couldn't understand why the land of his birth was attacking the land of his heart. 7 december. first time i ever saw him cry. second time i saw him cry was march 29, 1942. we were on the train moving out of san jose going to santa anita, the racetrack, the senate assembly we were going to. and i looked up and seats were facing each other with my dad, my mother, my sister and brother and me here. and i looked up and saw these
tears coming down from my dad. the third time was in 1956 when my mother passed away. those are the only three times i ever saw my dad cry. and so being on the floor that day, i talked about my dad and my mother. but it still had a long way to go. because even on the discussion on the floor, we had an amendment to take the payment part of it out. >> before you go on to that, what was the reaction from people after that day when they heard you talk about that? >> well, a lot of people told me afterwards what they had seen and changed their mind about the bill. they were thinking about voting against the bill, and bob motsui made a great statement. we had a number of people who made great statements on the
floor that day. peter rodino, the chairman of the committee, there was a republican congressman from new york -- hmm. i can picture him, ham fisher. congressman ham fisher from new york who gave a wonderful speech in support of the bill. and so it was a momentous day. >> so i know there are a lot of people that really worked hard to pass it. because of time, maybe you could share one or two stories about
some of the people who helped pass the bill. >> oh, man, you know, one thing about -- there are a lot of countries that call themselves democracies, but the thing that makes the democracy of the united states so distinctive from any other country in the world is that it requires citizen participation this thing kept on bubbling pup people working working at the grassroots level all across the
country. here is something that impacted on 123,000 people back in 1942. out of a population of 200 million people, who cares? you know, forget it. but yet this thing kept on bubbles up because people working at the grassroots level all across the country. and so there were just a lot of people. i remember from seattle, kenoshta terry, being one of those who was always agitating for citizen groups to get involved in this thing. and frankly, there were some of these groups that -- who were also lambasting me for taking the legislative approach. bill horridge ripped me a new one. he thought i was a sellout. he thought my brother-in-law mike was a sellout. he said, you know, he said he is the one who put us in camp. give me a break.
and so i mean we were having to swim against the tide too within the community. and some of the, frankly, awful things that horridge said about jcl, mike, dr. tommy, masano, and against those of news the congress who were pushing the legislative approach, it was not -- it was not a -- even for people like cherry kinoshta and there was a citizen group in san jose outside some of these other groups. they were having to speak in opposition to other nisei groups were doing.
so it's hard to point out individuals. as we -- after we had passed the bill and the senate had passed the bill, and there was some talk about president reagan vetoing the bill. and there was a fellow by the name of grant ujifusa, and grant was an editor with the reader's digest. and we were talking about this. and i said you know, grant, we're not over the hill on this thing. and he said well, you know, governor tom kane of new jersey is going to be with president reagan, and he is going to be in the car with him for about an hour. suppose we brief governor kane about this bill and have him talk to president reagan about it, and not veto the bill. so i said that would be great. so we pull all that material together, and grant went to see governor kane.
and convinced him that in this conversation, he is in the president's car, that he should talk to president reagan about it. so we did that. also, remember when president reagan was captain reagan, he was there when is it sergeant masuda couldn't be buried in his own hometown cemetery. so captain reagan was at the burial of captain -- i mean of sergeant masuda, even though it wasn't in his hometown grave. wherever he got buried, captain reagan was there. so we had someone else remind the president of that occurrence. and in fact i think there is a picture of him at that cemetery or at the funeral service. and they even gave him a picture of that to remind him.
but it was really governor kane >> so thoen then we were all at the seattle convention in 1988. and we got word that tomorrow morning, the president is going to sign the bill. . >> he's going to sign the bill? and we're all sitting in seattle. so everyone making airplane reservations. and we call the white house and said he can't just sign the bill. this has to be a public ceremony. and we'll all fly out and we'll get everyone there. so they said, okay, we'll make it a signing ceremony. and they said we'll do it at 11:00 in the morning. so everyone was flying -- just racing around trying to get reservations on the airplane to get from seattle washington to washington, d.c.
everyone on the red eye and we all get to the white house and we're all bleary-eyed and we're all there watching the ceremony that president reagan signed the bill. there's a picture of the president signing the bill. i said hey, pat, look at that signature there. that was my signature on the bill as speaker protestimony on what they call the redline copy of the bill that the president signs because president pro tem of the u.s. senate, me as speaker pro tem of the u.s. house and president reagan signing the bill. and then you know i thought where he says but only in a country like the united states could this -- something like this happen. >> that's good.
later on in your career, you were secretary of transportation right after -- or during the territory act of 9/11. and i'm curious to know because you were there a critical role at that time, if your work during redress ever played a role in how you thought about how to protect our country after 9/11. >> well, there's no question that right after september 11th they were saying, you know, take all of these arab americans and muslims and put them in camp. and i'm, like, i don't believe this. what am i hearing? so as we were putting together the skoourt measures and
aviation security was in the department of transz poration and so on september 12th there was a cabinet meeting and it was with the members of the democratic republican leadership from the dock. congress. he said mr. president we have a very large population of arab americans in michigan and they're very concerned about what's happenings.
they're very concerned about some of the security measures that might be taken relating to transportation. and the president said david, you're absolutely correct. we are also concerned about this. we want to make sure what happened tho norm in 19d 42 doesn't happen today. that was on wednesday, the next day, september 12th. so i got back and told my staff about it. i said one of the things we're going to have to make sure we do is no racial profiling.
i never went back to the white house to clear it. that monday was also the day the president met with arab americans and muslims at the muslim islamic study center in d.c. and the 39d asked me to go with him. he told them. he said, we know who the terrorists are. they're not loyal arab americans. they're not faith fulful followers of the islamic religion. so anyway, we proceeded along this line. and, in the meantime anne
bulger and malki nrksz and then towards the end of september; there was a killing in tucson. they said why did you shoot and kill this guy? they said because he looked like the enemy. but he was a shake. he had a turbine and beard. right after that, the president said we are going to pursue nibble who commits hate crimes.
happens in a post-9/11 and the development of the security measures and the no racial profiling rule. it was just a stunning audience. great group. largest group i've ever spoken to at a dinner. 4,000 people there. >> i'm guessing i'd have to imagine that they were so appreciative that you were in the position you were making those decisions. >> there's the aent deaf magsz, arab american antidefamation league. and that night at that access dinner, i got an award from though. for the stand that i took
september 11th. >> well, we're out of time. i actually took more than i sapd i would. this has been an incredible interview. thank you so much for your time. i so appreciate it. >> thanks. >> with live coverage of the u.s. house on c-span and the senate on c-span 2. here, on c-span three, we compliment that cover rang by showing you the latest on public affairs e vebts. blank wlank
>> "reel america each week american history tvs "reel america" brings you archival films that tell the story of the 20th century. up next "booked for safekeeping" which explains how to deal with the mentally ill sponsored by the louisiana association for mental health. the film was shot in new orleans using actual police and nonprofessional actors to portray a variety of difficult situations. the film is part of the archives collection of educational and industrial films. >> 22- 17, 34 37 a white female screaming.